Ten-man Black Cats defeated on Wearside.
Sunderland slipped to a home defeat against Hull after seeing defender Wes Brown sent off in the early stages at the Stadium of Light.
Brown was dismissed after four minutes for a foul on Shane Long, who opened the scoring with a 16th-minute header.
Adam Johnson and Ki Sung-Yueng came close for Sunderland either side of half time, but Nikica Jelavic’s 63rd-minute effort secured the points for City.
The defeat was just Sunderland’s second of 2014 and their first in eight games overall.
Unsurprisingly, Gus Poyet named an unchanged starting line-up following the Tyne-Wear derby win over Newcastle.
But his plans were hit when a loose pass let in Long, with Brown dismissed after bringing the striker down on the edge of the box as he bore down on Vito Mannone.
The resulting free-kick from Tom Huddlestone was well saved by Mannone, and Poyet re-organised by bringing on Santiago Vergini for his league debut 12 minutes in.
The Argentine, who replaced Fabio Borini, had a chance with his very first touch, but couldn’t quite bundle the ball home after Marcos Alonso had steered a free-kick back across the box with an acrobatic overhead kick.
Looking to make the most of the extra man, Hull pushed and Mannone made an excellent save to deny Jake Livermore just after the quarter-hour after Liam Rosenior’s cross found the midfielder 14 yards from goal.
But Hull were ahead from the resulting corner – a clearance was knocked back into the Sunderland box for Livermore, whose scuffed shot was headed into the net by Long.
Marcos Alonso replied with an effort straight at Steve Harper in the visitors’ goal, but Hull could have been further ahead inside 35 minutes as the away side created two excellent chances.
First Mannone pulled off another super save to palm away Jelavic’s goalbound header, before Long’s shot on the turn from the edge of the box crashed off the post and back into play.
Hull finished the half strongly and Phil Bardsley produced a super challenge to deny Jelavic as the striker looked to meet Ahmed Elmohamady’s cross.
However, Sunderland came close just a minute before the break when Maynor Figueroa’s miscued headed clearance dropped towards Johnson, who stuck a scorching volley from just outside the box which was well fielded by Harper.
The hosts struggled to get going at the start of the second half but they found a spark on 55 minutes when home debutant Liam Bridcutt slid a neat pass into the path of Ki, whose shot from the edge of the penalty area took a deflection and was tipped around the post by Harper.
Breaking away moments later, Hull should have perhaps doubled their advantage when David Meyler found Jelavic, but the striker pulled his shot well wide of the far post when one-on-one with Mannone.
Steve Bruce’s side did establish a two-goal lead in rather fortuitous circumstances just after the hour – Figueroa’s shot taking a huge deflection off Vergini straight into the path of Jelavic, who headed past Mannone.
Poyet responded by introducing Craig Gardner in place of Ki, while Connor Wickham made his first Sunderland appearance since October, coming on for Bridcutt soon afterwards.
But there was no way back for Sunderland.
Mannone pushed away an awkward effort from Sone Aluko at the other end, with Hull counter-attacking into the gaps as the hosts tried to get men forward.
The Italian also nicked the ball off Livermore’s toes late on as City took the points.
- Red Brown
- Yellow Bridcutt (Wickham)
- Ki (Gardner)
- Borini (Vergini)
- Rosenior (Koren) Yellow
- Livermore Yellow
- Long (Brady)
- Jelavic (Aluko) Yellow